Charity is engrained in the culture at Incisive. Our employees care deeply about making in difference in healthcare and in our communities. Through our charitable efforts in 2022, we raised more than $17,000 for causes hold dear. Outside of work many of our employees voluntarily support causes they hold near and dear to their heart. One such employee is Talent Acquisition Lead, Sofia Espinal.
Sofia has devoted many hours outside of work to supporting the non-profit organization, Project Sunshine. Project Sunshine's mission is to deliver the healing power of play to children with medical needs through trained volunteers. For the last 20 years, Project Sunshine has provided joy to pediatric patients through in-person and teleplay programs supporting a large network of hospitals and medical facility partners across the country.
Sofia spends several hours a month volunteering as a Play Volunteer, running Teleplay programs for children who are currently admitted to hospitals in the Orlando area.
Our VP of talent, Cara Hodgson, recently sat down with Sofia to discuss her time spent supporting project Sunshine.
Cara Hodgson: How did you decide to get involved with Project Sunshine?
Sofia Espinal: Growing up I would always get sick, and I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. Eventually I grew out of that, but I remember looking back wishing I had a program like this. Healthcare professionals are a big part of a child's plan of care, but they can't meet all of the kids’ needs. Being a child is difficult but being a sick child is even more challenging and I see how playtime gets their mind off of what they are going through. They leave these programs happier and feeling more fulfilled. I am very passionate about working with children and I know I wanted to do something to support children going through a challenging time.
CH: What is your favorite part about being a part of Project Sunshine?
SE: My favorite part is hearing the kids laugh when we play fun games. Even if they get a question wrong, they are having a good time. Seeing them have fun and their smiles on camera is touching. It shows me that it helps them to forget about the medical challenges they are going through. This program is amazing because all of the children are treated the same no matter what they may be going through on a daily basis. I love seeing them get competitive and grow their intellectual and social skills. Years 6-12 are so important in a person's life, and even though those years seem to go by so fast, the memories from those years can impact a person for the rest of their lives. Teleplay can help shape how children remember what they were going through because they can look back to a very tough time and have great memories where they were having fun.
CH: What is your favorite game that you play with the children?
SE: There are so many! I'd have to say my favorite game is called Guess the Disney Movie. We put up four emoji cards, related to a specific movie and the kids then guess the movie with the clues given to them. They get enthusiastic and learn about proper manners, practice patience and kindness by taking turns. The emojis are super fun, and sometimes even I don’t know the correct answer to the question! Seeing the kids get competitive and excited about who the winner might be is also a really rewarding experience. The other nice thing about this game is that it is fun for all ages!
CH: Do you have any memorable experiences from your time that you'd like to share?
SE: All of my experiences are so interesting. Once, I had a call that included about seven of the kids. There was this one young boy on the call who really loved to talk, raise his hand, and speak up. I had to be really patient with him, because he wanted the entire class to hear his voice. He did really great in the game we were playing, and enjoyed himself so much that he didn't want the game to end. The supervisor on the call eventually had to end the game, and the young boy got pretty upset, which actually made me a little emotional! I had tears in my eyes as we wrapped up that session. That is a particular experience I won't forget because the young boy was having so much fun and I really understood that beyond the fun he was having during this game, he would soon have to go back to focusing on the challenges he faced in his daily life. That really spoke to me!
CH: What advice do you have to anyone who is considering getting involved in a new volunteer experience?
SE: Definitely research the organization before committing to a cause. Find out what you are passionate about, whether it is children, adults, healthcare, or anything else. Being passionate about what you support makes a big difference in how committed you are to helping make an impact. Also, I encourage people to just take action and get involved. Just do it! Just start! Start one day at a time and continue on to see if it is something you really want to continue supporting.
CH: Thanks for sharing, Sofia.
For more information on Project Sunshine, how you can get more involved, and to learn more about the Partners they support visit their website at https://projectsunshine.org/.
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